5 Hidden Resume Killers!

You may think you have the perfect resume, but you keep getting overlooked for all kinds of positions, and you can’t figure out what’s happening!  Perhaps you are sabotaging yourself in ways you don’t recognize.

Almost everyone is aware of obvious job search killers in resumes, such as spelling and grammatical errors; however hidden mistakes often end up costing you the interview when you have an otherwise solid resume. Protect yourself from being misperceived out of a job opportunity by carefully reviewing your resume for hidden killers.

1.  Highlighting Political or Religious Affiliations

Many people fill their time with charitable work and, in the process, make some strong community contacts.  Great idea and very fulfilling, most likely, but if that organization is your local church or political action group, you may be sabotaging yourself if you include this in the resume.  Just the mere mention of such groups may subconsciously create a negative response in the reader.  Don’t place yourself at risk for potential discrimination or a negative first impression because of an association with a group that may not align with the values of hiring managers.  We all know it’s not ethical, but better to protect yourself, than be naïve and lose another opportunity.

2.  Explaining Employment Gaps with too much Personal Information

Although it is critical to be honest about gaps in your employment history, exercise caution about giving too much personal information or suggesting that your personal life may overwhelm your work life.  Be brief and succinct in explaining any gaps in your personal work history, and be aware that caretaking for elderly parents, for example, is becoming much more common. Career change or geographic moves may be part of necessary family caretaking decisions, which could also be important to explain in your resume. However you don’t need to provide a lot of detail regarding the emotional toll and investment of time such caretaking has taken.  The explanation doesn’t need to suggest you have been consumed by personal obligations, hinting that personal obligations may be more important than your work life.

3.  Broadcasting Weaknesses

Everyone has skill deficits or areas where his/her work could improve.  However, by over-emphasizing these deficits or appearing nervous about them, you are likely to sabotage the strengths identified in your resume.  Being honest doesn’t mean you have to hang your head and kick at the floor like a school child; it’s likely you feel worse about these shortcomings than necessary.  Emphasize your strengths and practice a response to express information about potential weaknesses. What is it that bothers you so much about this particular deficit when you likely have other strengths? You don’t need to be “all things to all people in order to land the job”, and feeling shameful about deficits can only work against you.

4.  Too Many Positions within the Same Time Frame

Sure, you may have worked 2 or 3 jobs in college, but later in one’s career, this may send a message that you are scattered, unfocused, or worse yet, not committed to your primary field of interest.  Potential employers want to know that you are working toward company goals with the same level of energy that they are, rather than being tired and distracted. Review the job history realistically.  You cannot misrepresent your work experience, but try to look at “your story” during that time of your life.  If there were a number of part-time positions pieced together out of financial necessity, be certain to identify the positions as part-time. Perhaps the positions included experiences for certification.  If so, mention it – this denotes a commitment to professional growth, and more clearly explains seemingly dual, simultaneous employment.

5. Over-emphasizing Periods of Self-Employment

Many potential employers question your ability to be a team player if you are accustomed to being the boss yourself.  It may also intimidate hiring managers or suggest that you are over-qualified, if you have labeled yourself President of your own company.  Again, don’t be deceitful, but be cautious regarding labels. Describe creative development skills associated with self-employment in ways that will benefit the prospective employer, such as market analysis, client development, or full P&L.

Increase your own awareness of potential “resume killers”, and you will be well on your way to eliminating obstacles to employment.  Resumes can communicate in many more ways than just using words.  The nuances of a resume are similar to body language – people get the message even if not overtly expressed.  Rid your resume of hidden killers and move ahead in your job search!

Author: Alesia Benedict

7 Strategies to Showcase Your Unique Value to Employers

 Great Jobs on Doostang

Although the job market is opening up a bit, it remains very competitive. In a tight job market, only the most unique individuals stand out. The first strategy to help separate yourself from the pack is a resume update, even if your resume is only a few years old. Attract positive interest by revamping your resume with the following tips to showcase your value to employers.

1. Replace the tired objective statement with a value outline.

A value statement is the optimal opening for your resume. It is a professional summary that outlines how you can bring value to the company. Gather all your best points in this “introduction.” It is your first impression to hiring managers. Be certain to use current terminology as well as traditional skills of value to employers, such as increasing profits, building productive teams, or streamlining operations to reduce costs. Although the value outline will not include a specific objective, the areas highlighted communicate your career goals and personal brand to the reader.

2. Re-evaluate work experience in your resume.

Remove work experiences more than 10 to 15 years old. In addition, experience that focuses only on basic technical skills, such as MS Office Suite, adds little value to any resume. Regardless of the final length of your resume, space is limited. Replace any older work experiences with more recent and relevant entries targeted at your specific career goal. These unique offerings will set you apart from the competition.

3. Use current keywords.

Keywords trigger interest in your resume for hiring managers and prospective employers, spurring them to pluck your resume out of the pile. The initial screening process has also been automated by many employers and jobsites with search tools, so if you don’t have the best keywords, your resume may not ever be seen by human eyes!  Of course every industry has its own set of keywords, but typical examples may include such phrases as business intelligence, global branding, or compliance audits.

4. Emphasize your personal brand.

Borrowing the marketing industry’s branding approach is another important tool in communicating your unique value to potential employers. Brainstorm the top 5 ways in which you have excelled during your career. Compare those skills to current needs and trends in your field. If your skills do not parallel current professional needs, you may need to pursue training to strengthen your personal brand and subsequent appeal to employers. The ideal personal brand can float your resume to the top of the “to-call” list by highlighting your unique value.

5. Research prospective employers thoroughly.

To increase the effectiveness of your resume and showcase your value, your resume must show how your skills and experiences not only add value to the potential employer, but also how you can help them accomplish their next “Big Initiative.” Use the Internet and explore business pages to discover important projects and align your experience accordingly.

6. Be ready to give specifics about past accomplishments.

Include statistics in your descriptions of past achievements. How did you help your employer reach quantifiable goals? As you prepare your resume, create effective summaries of your successes. Think of the process as telling a brief story, including the problem, your part in the solution, and the outstanding outcome. Using a storytelling approach helps you minimize jargon and display your ability to communicate complex subjects to any audience.

7. Streamline your resume.

Use bullet points to showcase accomplishments and special achievements. Organizing your resume by pulling out points of emphasis makes it easier to scan quickly for important skills and experiences that provide the details to support your value and personal brand. You may use a separate bullet point for each special project that highlights a different skill, cost-saving outcome, or profit-generating strategy.

Overall, avoid being too wordy or too focused on details that don’t emphasize your value to the employer. Make the most of your resume by carefully selecting those keywords and accomplishments that consistently highlight the value outlined in your initial summary. Your resume will be more effective and will help the reader remember the unique personal brand that sets you apart from the competition in a tight job market. Showcase your value to move toward that new job!

By Alesia Benedict

7 Ways to Turn Up the Heat on Your Job Search

 

Don’t take a vacation from your job search simply because it’s summer. By acting against the myth of a summer slowdown, you can heat up your job search and scorch the competition! You may be surprised to find that there is often less competition because the rest of the pack is acting on the outdated assumption that companies don’t hire in the summer. Follow these tips to put some sizzle in your summer job search.

1. Don’t Let Vacation Mentality Sabotage Your Search

A job search is daunting and summer is a traditional time for vacations or time away with families. However, if you succumb to temptation and set your job search aside, you will lose valuable momentum and are likely to miss opportunities. Job seekers tend to follow a traditional academic schedule and put their efforts in full force in the fall. Getting a jump on the competition by maintaining a steady effort over the summer puts your name at the top of the list for interviews now.

2. Don’t Miss Important Calls

With mobile devices, you can still make yourself available even if you do take a few days away from home base. Just remember to be professional when answering your phone and get in the habit of excusing yourself from the fun to take those important calls. You can continue your phone and email follow-ups from the road and get right back into your job search schedule upon your return.

3. Business as Usual

Recruiters and hiring managers continue to operate on typical business schedules during the summer months. Though scheduling interviews may be more complicated because of staff and search committee vacations, the timing may actually work to your advantage. Hiring decisions may be made more quickly than at other times of the year as staffers scramble to complete deadlines before their summer break. Hiring in the summer often contributes to an efficient business cycle by allowing training time before a busy fall season.

4. Attend Seasonal Community Activities

Summer is a prime time for festivals, fairs, and other types of community events. Attend as many of these as you can to network and spread the word about your job search. The casual nature of these events often gives you the opportunity to approach important hiring contacts that may be less accessible at other times of the year. Be prepared with a business card in your pocket and your updated resume ready to be sent out. You may even use these casual contacts to build a network of like-minded job seekers for support and sharing information about available job leads.

5. Update Your Resume and Online Profile

If your job search has slowed, summer is a great time to revamp your resume by removing older entries and adding industry keywords that highlight your strengths and make your resume pop during electronic scanning. Be certain to post the updated version of your resume to websites. If you notice any skill gaps during your resume review, summer is a great time to build skills with a workshop, training, or independent study. Classes and workshops also offer great networking opportunities.

6. No Shirt, No Shoes, No Interview

Summertime is not an open invitation for flip flops, khakis, or bermuda shorts. Regardless of the heat outside, be professional! Don’t blow an interview by being too casual. Pull out your best professional wardrobe for an interview or when dropping off your resume. Make the same choices for professional attire when interviewing via Skype as well.

7. Stay Current

Maintain subscriptions to online sites to remain abreast of the latest job openings as well as company expansions in your region or industry. Although the competition may seem fierce online, many of those likely candidates may be unable to attend an interview. Your diligent monitoring of varied sites will put you at the top of the interview list because of your qualifications and availability.

Update your resume, expand your network, and maintain your momentum by staying consistent with the job search. Heat up your chances of landing an interview during the final days of summer while the competition takes a vacation!

Milestones for a Successful Job Search

Manage your job search just as you would a well-organized project and you will be able to place yourself in a new position! By meeting milestones you will feel more in control of your job search.

1.  Identify Target Companies

Use traditional and Internet strategies to identify companies of interest. Network with professional and community organizations to gather information about potential openings, new projects, and names of key personnel. The hiring manager may be the gatekeeper, but isn’t the only contact who may be helpful in the organization. Use Internet sites to expand beyond your geographic area and get a sense of the current market for positions of interest to you.

2.  Tailor Your Resume and Cover Letter

Apply the research gathered about companies, key personnel, and positions to revise your resume and cover letter for each position if possible.  Although this may sound daunting, a complete overhaul is not required for each position. Emphasize skills and accomplishments in your resume that align with corporate needs. A slight adjustment may be all that is necessary to present yourself as the perfect candidate. Don’t rely on references to float your resume to the top of the pile. The cover letter and resume must stand on the merits of your experience, skills, and potential for contributions to the company’s bottom-line.

3.  Follow-up

When you follow up, remember to use a number of different strategies. Traditional thank-you letters and e-mails can both be appropriate. When managing group interview situations, you may prefer to use email and a brief phone message to keep your name and credentials fresh in the mind of each interviewer. You will also want to follow up with the initial contact person for your cover letter. That individual may become an important point-person in keeping you apprised of the interview process and keeping your name at the top of the list!

4.  Keep Going

Even after the interview, keep in contact with your network and maintain your job search efforts. Part of the challenge in current job searches is how protracted the process has become in a tight job market. Think of the process as a marathon and pace yourself. Rejuvenate yourself to keep up a positive energy.

5.  Maintain Good Records

Set up an organizational system to record your progress and include all the details! Keeping a comprehensive record of all names, dates of contacts, and outcome will prevent following up with the same person twice when you did not plan to do so. The record can also give you a sense of accomplishment and control as you monitor milestones in your job search project. Good organization leads to good results and helps you present a positive image in all your contacts.

Monitor job search milestones just as you would for a complex project. Exercising those skills keeps you on your game and moves you toward a new position. Use the milestones to maintain your focus and a positive energy to stay on track to a timely delivery in your job search project!

Overcoming the “Under-Qualified” Stigma

Investment Banking Analyst, Chicago, IL
Marketing & PR Internship, Miami, FL
Vice President, Philadelphia, PA
Sr. Consultant, Boston, MA
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It’s happened to everyone: you come across a job description for a position that’s right up your alley. The job is interesting and looks like something that you are completely capable of and excited to do. And then your eyes wander to the “Qualifications” section… You don’t have a Masters degree, 5+ years of experience, or a Series 7 license. So what do you do? Scrap it and move on? If you’re lacking many of the key qualifications that appear mandatory, then indeed you’re probably better off allocating your time and effort applying elsewhere. But if you’re only a few qualifications away from that ideal candidate description, you might be selling yourself short if you give up before even trying. Read on for a list of tips on overcoming the “under-qualified candidate” stigma.

Emphasize Your Skills

Ok, so maybe you don’t hit every bullet point with your qualifications. But don’t give up hope just yet. For many positions, the “Qualifications” section is merely a list of attributes of the ideal candidate. This doesn’t mean that they’re unwilling to consider someone who meets only some of the requirements. So instead of dwelling on what you haven’t done, focus on what you’re great at. Many skills that you acquire throughout school, volunteer work, or another job are transferable to other positions, and can be used to replace any prerequisites that you might not meet. Highlight these skills or experiences in your cover letter, and explain how they will help you excel in that specific job. One important caveat: don’t waste your time applying for jobs that you’re completely unqualified for – for example, if you’re looking at a position for an Associate Attorney at a top law firm, you better have a law degree.

Go the Extra Mile

If you come up short on knowledge or experience, emphasize to an employer that you are willing to work harder than any other candidate to brush up on your skills and become well versed in the subject matter. Don’t underestimate the value that hiring managers place on a strong work ethic. Include in your resume and cover letter examples of your ability to learn quickly. If you possess many of the other qualities of the ideal candidate, you may find that your enthusiasm to learn and contribute may very well land you the position.

Network

Networking is a great way to gain introductions into a company. Networking can also help you establish someone on the inside as an individual who can vouch for you. When you come across that tricky job description, mention to your contact that you’re planning on applying, and explain why. Be honest, and address any points that might weaken your application. Companies want to hire individuals they can trust. If someone with a good history at the company is able to put in a good word for you, it will further bolster that company’s confidence in bringing you on.

Volunteer or Intern

If you find that no matter how you try to spin it, you just can’t land the position you want based on your qualifications, offer to volunteer your services for free. This isn’t to say that you should ever allow a company or an individual to take advantage of you. But if you volunteer or intern for a company, you’ll gain valuable experience that you can parlay into a future opportunity at the company. Get in, work hard, and show them that they need you. Even if doing so doesn’t lead to another prospect within that company, you’ll gain important knowledge and skills that will qualify you for a position similar to the job you had hoped for at the outset.

It’s easy to look at a job description, think, “There’s someone out there who’s better,” and quickly abandon the effort. But have a little faith in yourself – play to your strengths and commit to working even harder than the next guy, and you may find yourself more qualified than you think. So take a chance – you’ve got nothing to lose – and you may find yourself one step closer to your dream job!

All the best,
The Doostang Team

Doostang Success — Taking the Next Step in My Career

Rob

Marist College ’94
Chief Information Officer – 1st Global

Doostang has been an extremely successful and rewarding experience. Originally, when I was sent an email with the name ‘Doostang’ I laughed, couldn’t figure out why anyone would choose that name, and what, if any, significance it retained. However, I had just had a really bad day at the office and decided to click on the website because I needed a good laugh (original thought).

To my amazement, the site was professionally organized, easy to navigate and enticing when I landed on the home page. What was more important to me was the types of jobs listed on the front page, as they seemed almost targeted towards my career without having me fill anything out. Now I have used other sites (theLadders, Indeed, eFinancial Careers, Finbox) and executive search firms, but have always had to do more prep work and spend more time respectively.

However, when I decided to try Doostang, I received relevant hits almost instantly. Kudos to your algorithm!

More importantly, as I read through one of the first job recommendations that matched my criteria, I found that my experience qualified me for approximately 85% of the job’s listed responsibilities. So I decided to apply.

The rest as they say, ‘is History.’ I am now the new CIO of a Financial Services company and have taken the next step in my 20+ year career.

Simply put, Doostang did a better job of (1) posting only high-quality jobs, (2) enabling me to search by relevant/specific key terms, and (3) providing a clean application interface that allowed me to save more time searching than any other resource that I have used.

So if you are looking for opportunities in the areas of investment banking, finance, technology, hedge funds, or private equity, I would highly recommend Doostang. I know that it turned out to be a perfect match for my needs (one search – one application – one job)!

Finally, I have a few tips for current job seekers:

1. Go Premium on Doostang.

2. There is no such thing as luck, actively search with vigor.

3. Apply for each job as if it’s the only job you are applying to and customize your efforts.

4. Do not waste time on applying for positions where you are reaching to meet minimum qualifications.

5. Your time is valuable so act accordingly.

Best Wishes!”


Did you get a job through Doostang? Share your Doostang success story and get a $500 Signing Bonus from Doostang!

Here’s a small sample of the great jobs you’ll find on Doostang:

Associate of Private Equity – Premier Equity Investment Company, Washington, DC

Project Manager – Asset Control Firm, San Francisco, CA

Research Intern – Top Wealth Management Firm, New York, NY

Management Development Manager – Leading Industry Firm, Cleveland, OH

Financial Intern – Leading Real Estate Investment Company, Clifton, NJ

Search jobs on Doostang

Tips for Relocating without a Job

Investment Analyst, Colorado Springs, CO
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Simply picking up and leaving is romantic when you’re young, but as you come into your own and have bills to pay and mouths to feed, it’s a lot more difficult to work out the logistics of a move. At Doostang, we advise you to always look before you leap! However, we also recognize that sometimes circumstances may dictate that you have to leave on short notice, and without a job lined up.  If you thought finding a job in your own hometown was difficult, finding employment in a new one is even tougher.  You won’t know as many people and you will have a myriad of other things to juggle with the move.  Here’s some advice on how to lessen the burden of finding a job in a new town:

Do Your Research

Before you pack up and leave, try to do as much research as you can about the city where you are moving.  Figure out what the hot industries are, which companies call the shots, and whom you might be able to contact to help get you in the door.  The more you get to know your new city, the less likely you are to feel like a deer in headlights once you get there.  Try to gain your bearings prematurely, and you’ll be primed to hit the ground running.

Grow Your Network

Yes, networking is tricky enough from the comfort of your hometown, but it’s important to reach out a little bit before your big move. Try to leverage the network you have to help you meet people in your new city.  Make it a goal to get in touch with a short list of new people, so that when you get to your destination you can immediately start to grow your social network. The more people you know, the more opportunities you will have access to, and the more individuals you will have on your side looking out for your best interests.

Reach Out to College Career Centers

Oftentimes, college career centers will be happy to help recent graduates who have moved to a new city.  Check to see which ones are around you, and stop by for an informational meeting.  Your own college may also have a reciprocity program with another school in your new area, so look into that as well.

Consider Temporary Work

If nothing seems to pan out, don’t be afraid to take on temporary work.  This is another great way to establish connections and get your foot in the door with your new city’s job industry.  Don’t take just any old job out of desperation, but find something for the interim that keeps you busy, gives you face time with people, and perhaps teaches you a few new skills.

Have a Solid Plan

You should put together a plan for your new life in the new city, including your living expenses and how far your money will take you while you don’t have a job.  It’s also important to bear in mind an exit strategy if worse comes to worst.

Making a big move is exciting and presents a multitude of opportunities.  It can be stressful as well, but do your best to plan ahead and do the leg work before – as well as after – you get to your destination, and you will certainly lighten your load.

Bon voyage,

The Doostang Team

Doostang Success — Business Consulting Job within 1 Month of Beginning My Search

Alison

Wofford College, 2007
Senior Business Consultant – Perficient

“Initially, I was weary of looking for a new job. I had a stable job that was unfulfilling, but due to all the rumors about how hard it was to find a job, I was afraid to even look. I checked out listing on other job sites and became more disheartened after wading through hundreds of jobs that sounded like scams to find one possibly interesting position.

Then I tried Doostang! After spending a little time on Doostang, I found a number of opportunities that I found interesting and decided to submit my resume.

Within 1 month of beginning my job search with Doostang, I found a position as a Senior Business Consultant with Perficient (formerly Exervio) in Charlotte, NC.”


Did you get a job through Doostang? Share your Doostang success story and get a $500 Signing Bonus from Doostang!

Here’s a small sample of the great jobs you’ll find on Doostang:

Private Equity Intern – Progressive Investment Company, New York, NY

Consultant – Top-Notch Consulting Company, Washington, DC

Pre-MBA Associate – Top Private Equity Firm, Los Angeles, CA

Simulation Analyst – Rapidly Growing Boston Area Robotics Company, Boston, MA

Investment Banking Associate – National Securities Company, New York, NY

Search jobs on Doostang

Doostang Success — My Dream Job after Just One Week

Crystal

Georgetown University ’10
Financial Analytics Generalist – Bloomberg L.P.

“For me, Doostang was an amazing resource because it offered two critical factors that helped me propel a successful job search: credibility and visibility.

I wanted to make my job search as efficient as possible, and I chose Doostang because it was recommended to me by a trusted and highly accomplished friend from a leading university and career, who was also a site member. So credibility was a big piece that got me started.

Every few days or so, for about a month, I re-ran a search based on my criteria, shortlisted promising jobs and companies, and took the time to apply at the end of each week.

Ultimately, I was contacted back by a great company for a cool role, and offered a job just one week later after several interviews. I realized throughout the interview process that this was a dream company for me.

That said – what I also loved about Doostang is that it let me manage my entire job search from a single online location, and its extensive database of high quality jobs enabled me to consider opportunities I wouldn’t have thought of applying to otherwise (including the one that I ultimately obtained).

I would particularly recommend Doostang to people who are in a similar situation I was recently in: open to a range of types of opportunities that will propel your career, and wanting immediate and efficient access to a tried and true job board and resource recommended by top graduates and professionals.

Doostang really opened up my eyes to the wide variety of opportunities out there, and I couldn’t be happier with the outcome!”


Did you get a job through Doostang? Share your Doostang success story and get a $500 Signing Bonus from Doostang!

Here’s a small sample of the great jobs you’ll find on Doostang:

Research Analyst – Powerful Financial Firm, New York, NY

Sales & Marketing Intern – Renowned Internet Company, San Francisco, CA

Investment Manager – International Private Equity Firm, Italy

Contract Consultant – Preeminent Research/Advisory Company, San Francisco, CA

Legal Administrative Analyst – Renowned Investment Firm, Chicago, IL

Search jobs on Doostang

Behaviors that Tarnish Your Office Reputation – Part 2

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Welcome back to our next installment of reputation-tarnishing behaviors at work.  Last time we explored how being too assertive, overextending yourself, and failing to communicate with your boss can all have a negative impact on your status.  Read on for a few more behaviors to avoid if you’re trying to stay on everyone’s good side!

Lack of Coherency

It’s likely that at some point during your job you will have to share your work and progress with either your boss or your coworkers.  And while this may take some extra effort and energy on your part, it’s important to take the time to ensure that what you present to others is clear, logical, and legible.  A presentation that lacks these three factors can really frustrate others, and you may be forced to either rework what you did, spend a good amount of time explaining superfluous details, or have your work be disregarded altogether.  Presenting coherent, understandable work is a show of respect for your audience, so you should do your best to be as clear as possible.

Challenging Your Boss

At all times, no matter what, you should show respect for your boss.  This becomes particularly important when others are around, say, in a team meeting or even just around the office.  It’s okay to disagree with your boss, but set aside a time to do so in private.  If your boss happens to make a mistake in a meeting – and you feel that it’s important to point this out – either try to get the message to your boss discreetly or bring the matter up in as polite a way as possible.  Never try to challenge your boss in public, as this will likely cause you to be perceived as insubordinate.

Focusing Solely on Your Boss

While your relationship with your boss is crucial to your career, it’s important to also cultivate relationships with your coworkers.  These are the people with whom you will be working in teams, and perhaps more importantly, they’re the ones whom you will be working under (or above) when someone is promoted.  Don’t isolate yourself by ignoring your peers, and don’t be seen as a “brown noser” by focusing solely on your boss.  It’s imperative to be friendly with everyone and to be a team player.

Having No Reputation

One interesting point that many fail to consider is having no reputation.  While flying under the radar is certainly preferable to sticking out like a sore thumb, it’s still better to be in great standing at your place of work.  If you show up to work but remain unnoticed, you will likely miss out on many of the privileges afforded to hardworking, friendly, reliable employees.  Having no reputation does not mean that you are none of these things, it just means that you will have to put in a little extra work to be recognized as such.

That’s it for now on behavioral blunders to avoid at work.  As you can see, how you interact with both your coworkers and your boss is extremely important, and it’s worth putting in the extra effort so that people consider you a great component of the team!

Until next time,

The Doostang Team